Protecting that investment is important to you

Υου need to knowthat all ofthe legal issues involved ίπ buying your home are properly handled. Υου want to feel secure about the fact that you own your home. Υου may also need advice about who should officially own the property, what kind of mortgage you should get, and many other decisions that have to be made when buying a home.

Your lawyer is there to help guide you through this process, and to protect your interests at every step of the way.

About this Booklet

This brochure explains how your lawyer will work with you when you buya home. This booklet is not complete without ‘Ά comparison of methods for assuring title” chart, which explains the three different ways ίπ which your lawyer could protect your ownership interest ίπ your home.

It is important that you take the time to understand these options. Onceyou have read this brochure, you should immediatelytell your lawyer which one of the three methods you would like him ΟΓ her to use for your home purchase.


Before you sign an offer to purchase

Απ offer to purchase is a contract that is binding οπ both you, the buyer, and οπ the vendor. Seeing a lawyer before you sign that offer can help avoid difficulties later on, and ensures you that your best interests are protected.

For example, your lawyer can advise you ίο:

• include escape clauses that will allow you to cancel your offer if you cannot proceed with the purchase. For instance, you may want to cancel your offer if you discover that the property is not what you thought it was, you were not able to arrange the mortgage you need, ΟΓ you were unable to sell your present home;

• request a warranty that the property conforms to all municipal by-Iaws, zoning regulations and housing standards;

• include an exact listing of the accessories that you expect to buy with the home;

• require that the vendor produce an up-to-date survey;

• request that your deposit be held ίπ a bank account that will pay

you ί nterest.

Your lawyer can also help you determine exactly how much it will cost to buy the house. Υου need to plan for extra costs such as land transfer tax, document registration fees, search fees, your lawyer’s fees, and monies that you will have to paythe vendor for items such as heating οίl already ίπ the tank ΟΓ any pre-paid utility bills and taxes – none of which are included ίπ the purchase price.

After the vendor accepts your offer to purchase

The offer to purchase is onlythe beginning of the complex process of buying a home.

Once the vendor has accepted your offer, your lawyer starts to work οπ many fronts. Υου can expect your lawyer to ask you many questions about the specific property you plan to purchase and how you intend to use ίΙ Over the following weeks, your lawyer will complete a series of legal inquiries, searches of records and extensive fact­checking, to make surethat, οπ closing, you reallyown the home and that you will be allowed to lίve there (ίπ other words, confirming that the present use of the property is legal).

Providing Advice and Fact-Checking

Among many responsibilities, your real estate lawyer acts as your trusted advisor. It is your lawyer’s job to check various details and advise you οπ a wide range of matters.

For example, your lawyer usually will:

• prepare and check mortgage documents and explain the terms of your mortgage;

• explain the different ways ίπ which you can own the property if you are buying it with someone else, and the difference between being joint tenants and tenants-in-common;

• check the statement of adjustments to ensure that you are paying only your share of the taxes, utility and fuel bills, and other costs that have been pre-paid by the vendor;

• explain the purposes of the documents that you have to sign.


Facilitating the 8υΥίΠΞ Process

Το help make the transfer of ownership from vendor to you, the buyer, as smooth as possible, your lawyer may also:

• arrange with utility companies to have hydro, water and fuel meters read οη the day of closing, and to have all future bills addressed to you;

• ensure that you have home insurance ίη place as of the closing date;

• hold ίη trust your closing funds and those provided by the mortgage lender, and transfer them to the vendor to ensure the home purchase closes; and

• arrange for you to receive the keys to your home as soon as

possible after closing.

Assuring you of Good Title

One of the more important parts of your lawyer’s job is to make sure that you have good title to the property that you are buying.

Why is good title important?

Good title ensures that you really own the property, that it is correctly described ίη official documents and properly registered, and that ηο one else has a claim ΟΓ a lίen to it that you do not know about.

For example, mortgage holders, contractors, tenants and the spouse of the person selling the home may all have rights to the property that need to be resolved before the sale can proceed.

Good title is essential for you to be able to sell your home ίn the future.

As part of title-related responsibilities, your lawyer usually will:

• check that the person who is selling you the home has a right to sell the property, and that ηο one else has a claim to it ΟΓ a lίen οη it;

• consider survey-related issues such as whether anything οη your property encroaches (intrudes) οη neighbouring properties, ΟΓ if neighbours are ίη fact using a part of your property;

• contact the municipality to make sure that there are ηο work orders against the property which you could be forced to comply with after your home purchase has closed;

• determine if any other organizations have interests ίη your property that could restrict your use of ίΙ For example, there may be easements that give utilities the right to install and access hydro ΟΓ gas lίnes. As well, if some ΟΓ all of the home is being rented, tenants have rights that could affect your ownership;

• contact l0cal utilities and the municipality to find out if there are

lίens against the property because of unpaid utility ΟΓ tax bills.

If there are problems that could affect title to your property, your lawyer could take steps to fix the matter (often working with the vendor’s lawyer). If the problem can not be corrected, your lawyer will explain to you the risks of taking title without resolving the problem.


Assuring you of good title:

Three options to choose from

There are three different approaches that your lawyer can take to assure you of good title. It’s υρ to you and your lawyer to decide which one of the three options is most appropriate ίη your situation.

With any of the options described below, your lawyer will conduct searches and inquiries to find out if there are any title-related problems with the home you plan to buy. Your lawyer will try to resolve most of these problems, and will advise you of how best to deal with any situations that cannot be resolved.

Option 1: Lawyer’s Ορίπίοπ οπ Title

If you select this option, your lawyer will provide you with a Letter of Ορ’ηίοη which states your lawyer’s view of whether ΟΓ not you have good and marketable title to your property. As well, your lawyer will provide you with a description of the results of the searches and inquiries conducted οη your behalf, and will inform you ίη writing of any outstanding issues that may affect your title to the property ίη the future.

If a problem is identified after you have closed, you can only seek compensation from your lawyer if you can prove that he ΟΓ she failed to do something that was legally required ΟΓ provided legal services that did not meetthe standards set bythe legal profession. Υου may have to hire another lawyerto help you sue your first lawyer and get compensation from the lawyer’s malpractice insurance plan.

Option 2: Title Insurance

Tιtle insurance is an insurance policy that you can buy to protect your investment ίη your property if there is a problem with title. For example, you may find out after you have bought your home that someone else has a legitimate claim to it that has to be satisfied, ΟΓ you may have to pay to move a building that is too close to a neighbour’s property lίne.

The title insurance policy protects you against the loss that you suffer because of many title-related problems. Most title policies also cover your legal costs if your title is challenged.

Option 3: TitlePLUS®

TitlePLUS is a system that includes both an insurance policy and an electronic process that collects information from lawyers who apply for a TιtlePLUS policy as they proceed through the steps ίη a residential real estate transaction.

The TιtlePLUS insurance policy provides protection for both the title­related aspects of buying a home and the legal services provided by your lawyer. It also automatically provides both you and the lender with coverage.

If you opt to use TιtlePLUS, your lawyer will ask you to sign an Acknowledgment and Direction just before your home purchase actually closes. This document confirms your instructions to your lawyer and that your lawyer has provided you with specific infor­mation about your purchase.

Your Choice of Options: Απ Important Decision

Making your choice among the three options described is a very important decision forthe home buyer. The chart enclosed with this booklet addresses specific questions you may have about each option, and is designed to assist you ίη making the most appropriate decision ίη your situation.













Home buyer’s lawyer will:


• undertake exlensive searches and inquiries relaled 10 assuring buyer of good lίΙlθ;

• acl as γουΓ advisor οπ lille-relaled and olher legal issues affecling home purchase;

• facililale Ihe closing process,

• provide α qualified LθΙΙθΓ of Ορίπίοπ οπ whelher buyer has good and

• αρρlγ, οπ home buyer’s behalf, for lίΙlθ insurance policy which replaces

• use soflware-based TillePLUS syslem 10 αρρlγ, οπ home buyer’s behalf, for

markelable lίΙlθ 10 propeήy, as described more fully ίπ Ihis booklel.

lawyer’s Ορίπίοπ οπ ΤίΙlθ.

TillePLUS insurance policy, which replaces lawyer’s Ορίπίοπ οπ ΤίΙlθ.


Home buyer pays:

Home buyer pays:

Home buyer pays:


• legal fees;

• legal fees;

• legal fees;

• disbursemenls lawyer has 10 ραγ 10 do Ihe required searches and inquiries.

• disbursemenls, including lίΙlθ insurance policy premium, which varies for

• disbursemenls, including TillePLUS policy premium, which varies wilh price

differenl policies.

of home.

• ονθΓαl1 cosl may be less Ihan cosl of Ορίπίοπ οπ ΤίΙlθ, depending οπ searches required.


Through lawyer’s malpraclice insurance, home buyer is covered if lawyer:

Home buyer has coverage for following Iypes of issues (which ναΓγ wilh policies)

Home buyer has coverage for following issues defined ίπ Ihe TillePLUS policy,


• makes negligenl mislake(s) ΟΓ omils 10 do somelhing Ihal affecls Ihe home

if problem exisls αl lime of purchase:

if problem exisls αl lime of purchase:

buyer’s lίΙlθ 10 Ihe ΡΓΟΡθήγ;

• lille-relaled problems, such as conflicling ownership inleresls ίπ Ihe propeήy;

• lille-relaled problems, such as conflicling ownership inleresls ίπ Ihe propeήy; old

• was negligenl ίπ legal serνices provided (for example, provided incorrecl

old ΟΓ improper mortgages; liens from judgmenls, special assessmenls, Γθαlly

ΟΓ improper morlgages, liens from judgmenls, special assessmenls for local

advice οπ mortgage maIIers).

lαχ arrears ΟΓ public UΙίlίΙγ arrears; improper documenls; certain righls arising

improvemenls, Γθαlly lαχ arrears ΟΓ public UΙίlίly arrears; improper documenls;

from lenancies, conlracls, oplions, ΟΓ righls of possession by α spouse; and

certain righls arising from lenancies, conlracls, oplions, ΟΓ righls of possession

Νο coverage for evenls occurring afler closing.

απγ lίΙlθ defecls ποl specifically excluded by policy;

by α spouse; and απγ lίΙlθ defecls ποl specifically excluded by policy;

• regulalory compliance issues, such as certain breaches of reslriclive covenanls,

• regulalory compliance problems, such as cerlain breaches of reslriclive

encroachmenls, selback deficiencies, work orders and building permil deficiencies;

covenanls, nolices of νίοlαlίοπ, work orders, encroachmenls, building permil

• inabilily 10 lίνθ ίπ home as α single residenlial dwelling under zoning by-Iaws;

problems, and selback deficiencies;

• absence of legal righl of access 10 home;

• inabilily 10 lίνθ ίπ home as α single residenlial dwelling under zoning by-Iaws;

• ίπ some policies, adverse circumslances affecling Ihe land which would have

• access-relaled problems, such as Ihe absence of α legal righl of access 10 home

been disclosed by α local aulhorily search.

ΟΓ inabilily 10 use certain easemenls ΟΓ righls-of-way ονθΓ neighbour’s propeήy.

Generally πο coverage for legal services provided by lawyer. *

Full coverage for legal serνices provided by lawyer handling purchase, including

αll advisory services.

Home buyer may be able 10 sue lawyer for negligence Ihrough lawyer’s

malpraclice insurance.

There is oflen limiled coverage ίπ Ihe policy for posl-closing evenls.












Coverage limiled 10 Ihe lerms and condilions of lawyer’s malpraclice insurance:

Exclusions (specific ilems policy does nol cover) ναΓγ wilh lίΙlθ insurer and specific

Exclusions ναΓγ, depending οπ specific home purchase.


• home buyer musl ΡΓονθ lawyer’s legal services fell below normal slandard of

home purchase.

praclice (ί.ο., lawyer was negligenl);

Slandard exclusions include:

• compensalion from malpraclice insurer oflen limiled 10 $1 million per claim.

Slandard exclusions include:

• some righls governmenls may have ίπ buyer’s land;

• some righls governmenls may have ίπ buyer’s land;

• certain environmenlal hazards;

• problems Ihe buyer agreed 10 ίπ purchase agreemenl ΟΓ failed 10 lell lίΙlθ

• buyer’s abilily 10 change use of Ihe land;

insurer aboul;

• buyer’s righl 10 undertake renovalions ΟΓ conslruclion;

• cerlain exproprialions;

• certain παΙίνθ land claims;

• lack of απγ righl 10 lands ποl described ίπ policy ΟΓ ίπ abuIIing slreels, lanes

• problems Ihe buyer agreed 10 ίπ purchase agreemenl ΟΓ failed 10 lell lawyer abouι.

ΟΓ walerways.

Policy may include exceplions specific 10 home buyer’s propeήy.

Policy also may include some exceplions specific 10 home buyer’s propeήy.

Lawyer will review exceplions wilh home buyer before closing.

Exceplions and/or exclusions may limil coverage for environmenlal and/or παΙίνθ

land issues.

Home buyer is compensαled for aclual financialloss (as defined ίπ TίllePLUS policy)

υρ 10 policy amoun” subjecl 10 some inflalionary proleclion.

Home buyer is compensaled for aclual financial loss υρ 10 Ihe policy amoun”

subjecl 10 some inflalionary proleclion.


Generally covers οπlγ home buyer.

Generally covers home buyer, buyer’s spouse/children, certain Irusl inleresls,

Generally covers home buyer, buyer’s spouse/children, cerlain Irusl inleresls,


successor/assign of vendor lake-back mortgage and απγΟΠθ who receives lίΙlθ

successor/assign of vendor lake-back mortgage and απγΟΠθ who receives lίΙlθ

Separale reporls prepared for lender.

10 buyer’s properly if buyer dies.

10 buyer’s ΡΓΟΡθήγ if buyer dies.

Separale policy required for lender. **

One TillePLUS policy aulomalically covers bolh home buyer and lender.


Home buyer does ποl have absolule righl 10 compensalion bul inslead:

Home buyer makes claim direclly wilh lίΙlθ insurer provided problem is covered by specific lίΙlθ policy.


• musl ριονε lawyer’s serνices fell below Ihe normal slandard of praclice;

• may have 10 hire new lawyer 10 sue lawyer who handled home purchase;

Claim musl be made promplly, as required by specific insurance policy.

• musl make α claim promplly againsl lawyer who firsl handled γουΓ purchase.


Lawyer being sued:


• musl have malpraclice insurance ίπ place when claim is made, ΟΓ home buyer

may have difficully oblaining compensalion;

• musl reporl claim 10 malpraclice insurer.

Home buyer may have difficully oblaining compensalion if purchase lawyer has

ποl complied wilh αll lerms of malpraclice insurance policy and lawyer needs

insurance money 10 compensale home buyer.


Generally πο coverage under lawyer’s malpraclice insurance for errors made by

1I does ποl maIIer who commiIIed Ihe θΓΓΟΓ, provided Iype of loss relales 10 Ihe maIIers covered by specific insurance policy.


someone else (e.g., municipalily responding 10 lawyer’s search requesl provided


incorrecl informalion).


Lawyer generally needs up-Io-dale surνey 10 provide ορίπίοπ οπ surνey-relaled issues.

Depending οπ specific policy, survey coverage oflen available wilhoul up-Io-dale survey.


Νο coverage for fraud by lawyer Ihal affecls lίΙlθ 10 properly.

Relroaclive coverage for απγ losses because of fraud οπ ραή of lawyer, provided losses αΓθ for maIIers covered under Ihe policy.


* Οπ selecled new home projects, legal serνices coverage may also be included. Oonsull γουΓ lawyer. ** Οπ selecled new home projecls, single policy may be available. Oonsull γουΓ lawyer.

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A real estate contract forms obligations that the law enforces. We deal with all types of real estate contracts, including:

· Sales and purchase agreements
· Commercial real estate contracts
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· Deeds
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It is important to work with us on any commercial real estate transaction to make sure your real estate contracts adequately protect your rights and help you avoid potential disputes in the future.

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We assist small business owners by reviewing loan agreements, lease agreements, and financing documents. It is important to protect your rights and your business.

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